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LIST: Philippine Presidents Who Headed Cabinet Departments

Marcos to lead Department of Agriculture.
by Erwin Colcol
Jun 21, 2022
Photo/s: Ted ALJIBE / AFP

President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is taking the helm of the Department of Agriculture once he formally assumes office, citing the severity of the problems in the farm sector.

Marcos Jr., who will begin his term on June 30, is the latest president to lead an executive department in concurrent capacity as chief executive. His father, former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., also took the role of defense secretary during his first term in office.

Under the Constitution, the President "shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices." This power involves the "restructuring, reconfiguring, and appointments of their respective officials," according to the Official Gazette.

READ: The Powers of the Philippine President, Explained

Here's a list of former presidents who also served as department heads in concurrent capacity:

Jose P. Laurel

Presidential Museum and Library PH/Flickr

Laurel served as Minister of Home Affairs in 1943, when the Philippines was under Japanese occupation during World War II.

He was the chief executive of the Second Philippine Republic from 1943 to 1945, also known as the Japanese-sponsored Philippine republic.

Ramon Magsaysay

Wikimedia Commons

Magsaysay served as Secretary of National Defense at the start of his term from Jan. 1, 1954 to May 14, 1954. He was succeeded by Sotero Cabahug, who also served as governor of Cebu.

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Magsaysay's term as president would eventually be cut short after he died in an aircraft accident on March 17, 1957.

Ferdinand Marcos Sr.


Marcos Jr.'s father held the position of Secretary of National Defense from Dec. 31, 1965 to Jan. 20, 1967, during his first term as president, and again from Aug. 28, 1971 to Jan. 3, 1972.


He was preceded in his second term as defense chief by former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who will now be the legal counsel of Marcos Jr.

Joseph Estrada

Noel Celis/AFP

Estrada served as ex-officio Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government from July 1, 1998 to April 12, 1999, when he was succeeded by former Antipolo Rep. Ronaldo Puno.


Estrada, who won under the campaign slogan of "Erap Para Sa Mahirap", was ousted following a series of protests in January 2001, known as the Second EDSA Revolution. Then-Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo went on to finish his term.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Agence France-Presse

Arroyo served as Secretary of National Defense twice: from Aug. 29, 2003 to Oct. 10, 2003, and from Nov. 30, 2006 to Feb. 1, 2007.


The daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal was the chief executive for a total of nine years as she was reelected in the 2004 elections.

After her presidency, Arroyo was elected as representative of the second district of Pampanga from 2010 to 2019, during which she also served as House Speaker.

Benigno Aquino III

Noynoy Aquino Facebook Page

Aquino took the helm of the Department of the Interior and Local Government for a short period of time in July 2010 until former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo was appointed to the post on July 9, 2010.

Robredo would hold the position until his death on Aug. 18, 2012 following an aircraft accident. His wife, Leni, would eventually be elected representative of the third district of Camarines Sur and Vice President.


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